Mar 092014
 March 9, 2014

marijuana dui duii federalI received the following e-mail message from United States Representative Jared Polis earlier this week:

WASHINGTON, DC —Representative Jared Polis (CO-02) today introduced the Limiting Unsafe Cannabis-Impaired Driving (LUCID) Act which would create a national benchmark to protect citizens from drivers under the influence of marijuana.  The bill would expand the federal definition of an impaired driver to include those who have a cognitive or physical impairment due to the use of marijuana.

“As more and more states follow the will of their citizens and implement regulations to treat marijuana like alcohol, it is vital that we keep our roads safe and save lives by updating our driving under the influence laws,” said Representative Polis. “The LUCID Act creates a single federal standard that will protect the public from impaired drivers and train law enforcement officials to effectively identify offenders.  I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work quickly to advance this legislation and keep impaired drivers, no matter what impaired them, off the road.”

“It is imperative that with the likelihood of the majority of states in the union moving toward legalizing the use of either medical or recreational marijuana or both, that all states adopt robust legislation to prevent and deter driving under the influence of marijuana,” said Tom Raynes, Executive Director, Colorado District Attorneys’ Council.

“As an organization dedicated to reducing the negative results of substance abuse, Team Fort Collins applauds any effort to put forth meaningful legislation designed to impact those negative results,” said  Ashley Kasprzak, Executive Director, Team Fort Collins. “It is recognized that driving under the influence of alcohol laws and related enforcement have had major, beneficial impacts on the driving public. The support for such laws is all but universal.  While recognizing that similar enforcement issues related to marijuana legalization is new, Team Fort Collins supports efforts to create practical legislation to address the impact of legal marijuana use in the driving community. Rep. Polis’ efforts to make driving under the influence of marijuana enforcement consistent with laws related to driving under the influence of alcohol enforcement, seems logical and practical. Team Fort Collins appreciates the recognition by Congressman Polis to address those issues.”

This legislation would make a state ineligible for federal funds granted when they are in compliance with federal regulations designed to prevent operation of motor vehicles by intoxicated persons, if the state has legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana. States would also be permitted to implement their own laws regarding marijuana-impaired driving if such impairment appears alongside alcohol-impaired driving.

Other organizations supporting this legislation include:

Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Colorado Department of Transportation
Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Robert Dewayne King

    If they make the “benchmark” a measurement of ACTIVE THC in a drivers system then fine , but I bet they set it for metabolites like everybody else !!

    • KrisM

      Why should that be a “benchmark”? Why are you okay with settling with that? I can smoke an entire joint of weed and appear completely sober because I use it every day. Why should I and others have to suffer consequences for my actions that aren’t harmful just because more sensitive and / or inexperienced users with lower tolerances can’t drive normally at those levels, while most people can? If you give too much tobacco and coffee to people who are sensitive and inexperienced, their driving is altered too. Why should cannabis users have to be subjected to more bullshit just because some people are subconsciously assume it is as intoxication and it’s dose level of impairment is similar to alcohol, which is unscientific, and ignorant at best.

      • Robert Dewayne King

        If this is SCIENTIFICALLY analyzed and a level of active thc is found that would make an average user a dangerous driver then yess , I think that would be good “benchmark” ! I don’t believe that it is possible to accomplish that with so many ignorant politically driven “experts” throwing tantrums about ANY legalization !!

  • James

    I don’t understand. What specific sobriety tests are there if you’re DUI on oxycodone, xanax, adderall? Don’t they just simply check if you’re impaired by not being able to follow simple roadside tests? Why shouldn’t it be the same for cannabis? Not happy with all this DUI legislation.

    • Tim Bambam

      In most states if you are in an accident one question they will ask about is prescribed medications. I agree with you that they need to come up with a better test for can Nabisco.

  • The grim reefer

    There needs to be a test to show when you have smoked in the 1 to 6 hour time period, The current guidelines are unrealistic, the current limit in most states of 4 nano grams can show up for several weeks after smoking just once. The way it is set up now is a joke and a cash cow for the states using it.

  • JoeOfVa

    Agree with an earlier comment, since these states are now legalizing cannabis use. It is going to be the their next cash cow to lock people up. I’ve never been in a car with someone who had just smoked/ate/drank cannabis who drove dangerously. We have always drove under the speed limit (lol) and chanted, “deer and cops, deer and cops”. I can say cannabis does, for some people, SLIGHTLY slow reflexes. For others it heightens those reflexes. Watch people play Centipede or Mortal Combat or Pacman at higher levels. We used to tear those games up!!
    I believe they are neglecting the positive reactions for those who suffer with ADHD or ADD, it allows them to focus better on tasks at hand. Just a way to keep something illegal about cannabis. I’m prescribed muscle relaxers 7 per day, Lyrica 75mg 4 per day, Xanax .5mg 4 per day, MS Contin 30mg twice a day/and 15mg twice a day, Zyrtec, vitaminD/C/B, naproxen 500mg 3-4 per day, and have Multiple Sclerosis. Even my immune suppressing medication comes with a cautionary label stating to not handle machinery or drive UNTIL you get used to the side effects.

    I’m prescribed all those poisons with warning labels that are PAGES long, but if I was able to be prescribed cannabis with the same warning label. I truly believe that’s how it should be written and handled. I don’t smoke anymore due to VA and medication laws, but I am 100% sure my ability to drive would be much much better and safer then taking all these medications combined.

    • BradL

      If possible, pack your bags and move to a state like California or
      Colorado. Smoking marijuana is a bandaid for the symptoms of multiple
      sclerosis. The real healing is heavy doses of (emphasis) HIGH QUALITY
      decarboxylated hash oils. Orally digest 1 gram of this hash oil a day,
      combined with a proper diet, and the healing will begin. Cannabis heals
      your myelin sheath and your lesions. If possible, try buying 1/2 oz of good marijuana and infuse it into some organic extra virgin coconut oil. Consume it in 1-2 weeks and watch the magic if you’re too scared of the law to make your own oil from Everclear or grain alcohol.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdI8sGPia5s

      Here is Clark French from UK sharing his story re : Rick Simpson oil and Multiple Sclerosis

  • Dave DeRose

    People must understand that we combat problems by creating laws and not create laws that might stop the problem. Once again our government is over stepping it bounds by creating this factious problem just to imprison people and ruin their lives. If they government has any facts it was the fact created by one of their own departments. Do we not have any real lawyers in this country anymore to fight these outlandish laws being created.

    http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/25000/25800/25867/DOT-HS-808-078.pdf

  • Cris Bessette

    I think the DUI guidelines for ANY DRUG should be based on cognitive abilities and motor response, not on some arbitrary blood level detected. People are individuals and have different responses to things.
    Colorado has set one of these arbitrary numbers for cannabis DUI that will lead to many people that have higher tolerances being jailed regardless of their actual intoxication.

  • DISTURBED

    how can they tell when you smoked like 1 hour vs 10?????

  • Sarijuana

    Did I read that last paragraph right? States with legalization, medical or recreational will be ineligible for federal funds when they ARE in compliance?

  • Ghostie

    Why would this law even be relevant? Kinda hard to arrest people for impaired driving when they’re still sitting in their driveway listening to Pink Floyd.

  • Heath Dangerfield

    I am not convinced that Marijuana effects the way a person drives. I want to see actual factual scientific research that shows how it actually effects driving abilities. They need to add several variables like people who smoke habitually and first time users (though I don’t think a first time user will do much other than take a nap). Or the potency of the marijuana. Only when they can prove that the levels of marijuana in a persons system do in fact make them unsafe drivers, will I accept anyone being arrested for marijuana DUI.

  • Jbarker

    While driving, get ready for eye check stops… Then coordination checks for drivers with neurological disorders such as ms… And arrests, fines, jail time or drug rehab classes, and a loss of driving priviliges. Be afraid be very afraid… It’s coming to a state near you.

  • Doc Deadhead

    It is pretty obvious when someone is ‘stoned’, the squinted, red eyes,
    slurred speech, etc. and these details are what the police will be
    trained to recognize as well as odor.

    When you are stoned your
    reflexes are not the same as when sober, period. I am a heavy medical
    user and not just speaking out of my butt like many commenters that have
    never used but think they can provide an educated opinion on the
    subject.

    Here’s a thought….don’t get all bombed up before getting behind the wheel and you won’t have problems.

  • Stephen Weber

    Why does most everyone jump to the automatic, knee-jerk, and FALSE assumption that cannabis impairs drivers much the same as does alcohol? Why let uninformed opinions be the basis of new laws? It took me very little time to do a search, and find actual scientific studies which indicate just how incorrect such an assumption is. Examples follow.

    Studies Show Marijuana Consumption Not Associated With Dangerous Driving, May Lead to Safer Drivers
    Anyone who consumes cannabis on a regular basis knows that it doesn’t make you a dangerous driver. Many people find that it makes them a safer, more focused driver; one that’s more aware of their surroundings and the dangers associated with controlling tons of gasoline-filled metal. Not only has this been an anecdotal truth for as long as cars and cannabis have been paired, science has also been clear that consuming marijuana doesn’t make you a dangerous driver, and may make some people safer drivers. More research is needed, but it’s hard to deny that of the research we have, marijuana hasn’t been found to increase a person’s risk of an accident. To back this claim up, here’s a list of studies and research conducted on this very topic, some of which were funded by national governments in hopes of different results.
    http://thejointblog.com/studies-shows-marijuana-consumption-not-associated-with-dangerous-driving-may-lead-to-safer-drivers/

    Marijuana and Driving: A Review of the Scientific Evidence
    “Marijuana has a measurable yet relatively mild effect on psychomotor skills, yet it does not appear to play a significant role in vehicle crashes, particularly when compared to alcohol. Below is a summary of some of the existing data.”
    http://norml.org/library/item/marijuana-and-driving-a-review-of-the-scientific-evidence

    The incidence and role of drugs in fatally injured drivers
    “There was no indication that cannabis by itself was a cause of fatal crashes.”
    REFERENCE: Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
    Report No. DOT HS 808 065, K. Terhune. 1992.
    http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/26000/26600/26685/DOT_HS_808_065.pdf

    Marijuana’s effects on actual driving performance
    “Evidence from the present and previous studies strongly suggests that alcohol encourages risky driving whereas THC encourages greater caution. .. Drivers under the influence of marijuana retain insight in their performance and will compensate when they can, for example, by slowing down or increasing effort. As a consequence, THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small.”
    REFERENCE: University of Adelaide study, 1995
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Misc/driving/s1p2.htm

    Role of cannabis in motor vehicle crashes
    “There is no evidence that consumption of cannabis alone increases the risk of culpability for traffic crash fatalities or injuries for which hospitalization occurs, and may reduce those risks.. The more cautious behavior of subjects who have received marijuana decreases the impact of the drug on performance, whereas the opposite holds true for alcohol.”
    REFERENCE: Marijuana: On-Road and Driving-Simulator Studies; Epidemiologic Reviews 21: 222-232, A. Smiley. 1999.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10682259

    “Both simulation and road trials generally find that driving behaviour shortly after consumption of larger doses of cannabis results in (i) a more cautious driving style; (ii) increased variability in lane position (and headway); and (iii) longer decision times. Whereas these results indicate a ‘change’ from normal conditions, they do not necessarily reflect ‘impairment’ in terms of performance effectiveness since few studies report increased accident risk.”
    REFERENCE: UK Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (Road Safety Division). 2000.
    /http:/www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme3/cannabisanddrivingareviewoft4764?page=12

    Cannabis And Cannabinoids – Pharmacology, Toxicology And Therapy
    “At the present time, the evidence to suggest an involvement of cannabis in road crashes is scientifically unproven”.
    REFERENCE: G. Chesher and M. Longo. 2002.
    https://www.dmt-nexus.me/Files/Books/General/Cannabis%20And%20Cannabinoids%20-%20Pharmacology,Toxicology%20And%20Therapy.pdf

    Cannabis: Our position for a Canadian Public Policy
    “Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving. Cannabis leads to a more cautious style of driving. However it has a negative impact on decision time and trajectory. This in itself does not mean that drivers under the influence of cannabis represent a traffic safety risk”
    REFERENCE: Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. 2002.
    http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/sen/committee/371/ille/rep/summary-e.htm

    “The evidence to suggest an involvement of cannabis in road crashes is scientifically unproven.”
    REFERENCE: Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential, 2002
    Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential, edited by Franjo Grotenhermen, MD and Ethan Russo, MD (Haworth Press 2002).
    https://www.dmt-nexus.me/Files/Books/General/Cannabis%20And%20Cannabinoids%20-%20Pharmacology,Toxicology%20And%20Therapy.pdf

    The Prevalence of Drug Use in Drivers, and Characteristics of the Drug-Positive Group
    “There was a clear relationship between alcohol and culpability. In contrast, there was no significant increase in culpability for cannabinoids alone.”
    REFERENCE: Accident Analysis and Prevention 32(5): 613-622. Longo, MC; Hunter, CE; Lokan, RJ; White, JM; and White, MA. (2000a).
    http://www.grotenhermen.com/driving/longo1.pdf

    The Effect Of Cannabis Compared With Alcohol On Driving
    “Although cognitive studies suggest that cannabis use may lead to unsafe driving, experimental studies have suggested that it can have the opposite effect.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2009
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722956/

    Why Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Traffic Deaths
    “No differences were found during the baseline driving segment (and the) collision avoidance scenarios,”
    REFERENCE: Research published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 2010
    http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/02/why-medical-marijuana-laws-reduce-traffic-deaths/

    Top 10 Reasons Marijuana Users Are Safer Drivers
    “20 years of study has concluded that marijuana smokers may actually have fewer accidents than other drivers.”
    http://www.4autoinsurancequote.com/uncategorized/reasons-why-marijuana-users-are-safe-drivers/

    Risk of severe driver injury by driving with psychoactive substances
    “The study found that those with a blood alcohol level of 0.12% were over 30 times more likely to get into a serious accident than someone who’s consumed any amount of cannabis. .. The least risky drug seemed to be cannabis and benzodiazepines and Z-drugs.”
    REFERENCE: Accident Analysis & Prevention; Volume 59, October 2013, Pages 346–356
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457513002315

    Cannabis: Summary Report
    “Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving.”
    REFERENCE: Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
    https://www.dmt-nexus.me/Files/Books/General/Cannabis%20And%20Cannabinoids%20-%20Pharmacology,Toxicology%20And%20Therapy.pdf

    Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk
    “There is no evidence that consumption of cannabis alone increases the risk of culpability for traffic crash fatalities or injuries for which hospitalization occurs, and may reduce those risks.”
    REFERENCE: British Medical Journal, 1999; M. Bates and T. Blakely

    “Stick *that* in your pipe and smoke it!”

  • Jeff Lucas

    they trat us like we’re dumb animals that need to be on the end of a leash.
    I’m not living my life like a dog on a chain. I’m breaking EVERY chain. I will die a free man, mark my words.